Fingerprint scanner

Earliest use of fingerprint scanner was in ancient Babylon, on clay tablets to record business transactions. Fingerprint scanner are a much more humane way to identify criminals compared to previously used methods including branding (the French used a fleur-di-lis symbol), tattooing (in early Rome to identify and prevent desertion of mercenary soldiers) and even maiming (removing the hand of a thief). The objective was the same, to identify career criminals.

Dactyloscopy is the science of using fingerprint scanner to identify a person. The three basic fingerprint patterns are the Arch, Loop and Whorl (circle). The basic patterns are further classified until similarities are eliminated, leaving a single qualifying fingerprint. The FBI now receives over 34,000 fingerprint cards daily, classification is required to categorize each person; comparison against the database (one of the largest and fastest growing databases in the world) would be impractical.

Friction Ridges are subject to wear, being slightly higher than the base skin layer. As a fingerprint technician, I have noticed that some people have very “shallow” ridges. This occurs from occupational and hobby activities. Some of the more difficult people to fingerprint successfully (accepted for classification) include: medical professionals who wash their hands literally hundreds of times a day; string instrument players not using a “pick”; artists, painters, and others working with chemicals who do not wear protective gloves; sailors working with ropes and receiving the inevitable “rope burns”; and employment in overseas laundries still using phosphates. There are many others.

Most fingerprinting is done using “Live Scan”, Inkpad, or “Slab and Roller”; each has advantages. The Live Scan method is basically a scanner that photographs the fingertips – no ink is used. It is generally very fast and accurate. Unfortunately, though promising, few requesters are equipped to accept the electronic feed, mobile (at your location) units are very expensive, and there is no “hard copy” fingerprint card produced.